A Review: “My People”

My People
Langston Hughes,
Charles R. Smith Jr., Photographer
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009.
Hardcover, 40 pages.
ISBN 1416935401, $14.07
Ages 1 and up.
Literary Awards: Coretta Scott King Award for Illustrator (2010)

Photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. thoughtfully captures the diversity of African Americans, set to Langston Hughes’ beautiful ode to “his people.” Consider this book an interpretation of Hughes’ short, loving poem, because the images include old and young, dark and light, playful and pensive.

My People
The night is beautiful,
And so the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

                                                                                – Langston Hughes

Parents, this is a worthy introduction to Langston Hughes for your youngest generation, and solid affirmation of being a black American. Or, if you are not black, this is a gorgeous representation of what makes America so beautiful. Langston Hughes’ writings have expressed an important part of the American experience for generations, and should be required reading for all.

Bonus –  Charles R. Smith talking about his book:


Hughes, L., & Smith, C. R. (2009). My people. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Youtube, (2009, July 29). Watch Author Charles R. Smith Discuss His New Photography Book My People. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iolANqd9Gug


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